Wonder boys movie review.

GV Rama Rao By GV Rama Rao, 27th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/34ehujs-/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Comedy

Wonder Boys, a 2000 film is a delightful comedy about a writer and will be interesting to all writers and wannabe writers.

Writing a novel

There are two schools of thought about novel writing. One says it is character driven and the other insists it's plot driven. In both, the protagonist undergoes through severe ordeals before achieving or failing to get to his goal. The more the obstacles or, the stronger the antagonist, the more interesting the novel turns out to be. In the first theory, the determined character, well rounded with his skills and flaws propels the story forward to make the book a page-turner. The Wonder Boys, a movie based on a novel of the same name by Michael Chabon follows the first principle and revolves around the central character of Professor Grady Tripp who wrote a best seller nine years ago and was going through the writer's block at the time of the movie. Needless to state it has no story worth mentioning, and all the action takes place on a weekend in the Pittsburgh University campus where Tripp teaches.

Famous writers

Several famous writers were also notorious as alcoholics, womanizers, and substance abusers. The film lists some of them. Following the tradition, Prof Tripp wrote his magnum opus under the influence of drugs and achieved fame. With his own marriage in shambles, he fell in love with the wife of his departmental head who also happend to be the chancellor and impregnated her. When she announced she was carrying his child, he showed a rare nonchalance devoid of any sentiment or poignancy of the situation. He wrote his second novel of two thousand pages typed single space using an electronic typewriter of the period also 'under the influence'. Although it turned out to be amazing, it had too many details that showed 'the author has not made any choices'.

The manuscript

It's surprising the manuscript had only a single copy and its sheets were not bound by any means not even clips. Later when the pages fly away in a gust of the wind and the work of many years undone in a moment, one feels sorry for the writer. The author, however, shows no regrets and states that the first novel gets written long before the first page is typed. As a published author, I cannot agree with him more.

The story.

As mentioned earlier, there is hardly any story to write about and all the action takes place in a weekend. A series of events make up for the story. To start with the professor and his student attend a wordfest in the college campus. The professor's editor Terry Crabtree played by Robert Downing Jr of the Iron Man fame comes with a transvestite and later dumps him for James. The sexual preferences of James and his editor have been left in doubt and not spelled out.

The Action

The action unlike films of today with super heroes saving our world from attacks by aliens and villainous characters is minimal and reduced to a mere car chase. The main events that propel the story are the pursuit of the Professor and his student searching for Marilyn Monroe's memorobalia and the student shooting a blind dog that attacks his mentor. The ubiquitous cops are present but have no role in the movie.
Despite the lack of action sequences and poignant scenes that act as terjerkers, the film keeps one engaged lost in a writer's world full of anguish, disappointments and final triumph. There is a subtle comedy in the whole film.

My take

As a writer I could empathise with the plot and the main character, Professor Gardy Tripp. Michael Douglas played this role without any glamour and usual flamboyance his usual hallmarks. Nor he dominates the other characters.

This film, now fifteen years old, has inherent charm and is far different from the films of today featuring superheroes with abnormal powers. Nor does it show any technical wizardy. The ubiquitous computer shows itself at the end when the professor saves his work lest it goes undone like his earlier work.

The cast

Actors like Robert Downing Junior II who later achieved fame as Iron Man and Toby Maguire who later played the role of Spiderman with aplomb give meaningful but low key performances that suit the roles.
Bob Dylan's Oscar winning song is used as the title song and adds lustre to this enjoyable comedy.


As a writer, I enjoyed every minute of the movie, and I have no hesitation to recommend it to fellow writers at Wikinut.
My readers may also wonder why I posted a review of this old film now. It's because I couldn't sleep at 5 am and switched on the TV. I watched the film lying on my bed on the TV fixed to the wall in front of me. Probably my judgement was clouded by the comfort in which I watched the film free.

The script is mine and the pics are from public domain:google images.

Wikinut is the best site to post one's writing and hone his skills with a helpful community of writers and wannabe writers.

You may also like to read my reviews of books and films in my pages.


Action, Character, Character Development, Characterisation, Comedy, Love, Movie, Movie Review, Movie Star, Plot, Plot Storyline, Plot Twist, Poignancy, Poignant, Poignant Situations, Poignant Stories, Pregnancy, Story, Superhero, Wonderful, Writing, Writing Skills

Meet the author

author avatar GV Rama Rao
I am a retired naval officer and a published author with three books to my credit. I am a winner of nanowrimo competition for 2008,9, &10. I like humor best..

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author avatar M G Singh
29th Jul 2015 (#)

Nice and interesting post GV

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
29th Jul 2015 (#)

Thanks Madan.

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